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  • Joshua 23:1-24:33

Speck and log. Speck and log. Three words that help me remember where my critical eye should be turned. If you’re unfamiliar with that phrasing, check it out in the New Testament. Essentially, we are exhorted remove the log from our own eye before trying to remove the speck from our neighbor’s eye. This three word mantra runs like a news bulletin across my mind when I read these words in Joshua 23:

“Therefore take careful heed to yourselves, that you love the Lord your God.” –Joshua 23:11, NKJV

Careful heed is exhorted. But the object of that careful heed is not my neighbor, child, spouse, friend, or co-worker. The one to which my careful heed should be directed is myself. But that careful heed also has a limit. God does not exhort us to tear ourselves apart. He declares that life and death are in the power of the tongue; He knows its power and thus does not leave us without boundaries for our careful heed.

“…that you love the Lord your God.”

Specific boundaries for the critical mind. Are my actions loving God? Are my thoughts? What needs to go from or come into my life to advance my love of God? Loving God is the point. When I turn my careful heed in that direction, there is care for my body, soul, mind and spirit for, as John Ortberg writes, sometimes the most loving thing I can do is take a nap.

Loving God means tuning into whatever He asks, wherever He leads, and however He wants us to go about doing whatever the thing is. So use that critical eye, but only on yourself, and ONLY for the end of loving the Lord your God. Everything else will fall into place.

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Image by Benis Arapovic

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